24 October 2015

Stitching up our democracy

You may have missed it, but the Tory's just broke democracy for England, and stuck two fingers up to the idea that the devolved nations can play a real part in deciding the future of the UK union they belong to.

The West Lothian problem, the situation where legislation that affects only England can be voted on in parliament by Scottish, Welsh and N.Irish MP's (whose constituencies are unaffected by such decisions due to having devolved parliaments), is a rather unsightly crack in our democratic framework.

2 July 2015

Choices in a complex world

Who to choose, that's the big question facing all Lib Dems at the moment. MP's, ex MP's candidates and party bigshots from all around are throwing their endorsements in the ring. Even lowly party members like myself feel they have something worth adding to the debate.
It's a difficult choice, made harder by a rather lacklustre and repetitive campaign and debate from supporters on both sides, contrasted with some excellent statements, proposals and speeches from the candidates themselves. However I have finally made up my mind.
The negatives thrown at each candidate by their opponent's supporters don't necessarily hold much water for me, although reflecting on why not has helped me define what it is I feel our new leader needs.

24 April 2015

Whos rights? Our rights!

There is a fundamental conflict of interest between MP's representing us, the people, and voting on a transfer of power form the people to government/parliament.

When the United Kingdom spearheaded the creation of the European Court of Human Rights it established the principle that there are inviolable rights that all human beings should have that reside outside the jurisdiction of national governments.

We looked back at the horrors of  two world wars which had just passed, at the way in which those who came through them, from all side,s had been mistreated and damaged at the hands of the nations involved and took the brave decision that for the sake of humanity national governments should be subject to certain restrictions on their behaviour.

By signing us up to the newly created ECHR they presided over one of the biggest and bravest transfers of power from a government, to the people, 

10 April 2015

A Manifestly Flawed Relationship

Political parties are preparing to launch their election manifestos to be picked apart and scrutinised by the public and media (and given whatever spin fits each groups particular agendas). Each manifesto will no doubt be held up and discussed as 'the' definitive guide to what this or that party is going to do to our country (with much bemoaning of what it will do to the -insert word most likely to enrage your particular brand of consumer- ').

Then, when the dust has settled over the hair of another set of secretaries and ministers, turning them from brown/blonde/black/red/etc. to a uniform tired grey, the media (on our behalf of course) will hound them all again, brandishing a battered copy of their manifesto and pointing to the 'pledges' they made and how they haven't stuck faithfully to what they promised to do, how they have deviated from their political holy texts in a kind of political blasphemy; and all this will feed in to a familiar (and to the many who prefer to be permanently enraged and indignant, comforting) narrative of broken promises, mistrust and failed 'all the same' politics.

But is this useful, or even, dare I say it, fair to politicians? To that my answer is simply, No. Actually it's more like, 'no of course it bloody isn't.' Nor is it even what we should expect from them.